Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith makes 1st career start at ILB

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Bears linebacker Roquan Smith played eight snaps in the opener. | Jeffrey Phelps, AP photo

Roquan Smith made his first start Monday night, taking the field alongside fellow inside linebacker Danny Trevathan against the Seahawks.

The No. 8 pick of the draft, Smith missed the first 29 games of the preseason due to a contract dispute with the Bears. He returned and participated in one-and-a-half practices before feeling soreness in his left hamstring.

Smith played eight snaps in the season opener against the Packers, though he recorded a sack on his first play. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Friday that the Bears were trying to protect Smith, physically, as he was returning from injury. Coach Matt Nagy said Smith was feeling better. Both the head coach and coordinator conceded he was going to play more in the Bears’ second game.

Smith, who was introduced alongside the Bears starters in a pregame ceremony, said this week he wasn’t sure exactly how much he’d play.

“Just, really, (give) 100 percent effort and do everything to the best of my ability, and I feel like everything else will take care of itself …” he said. “Whatever coach feels like is best for me as far as playing time-wise, if it’s one quarter or an entire game, whatever that may be, I’m just with it.”

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